Keas play with snowballs

Here’s a video of my favorite volant (flying ) parrot playing with snowballs, one of which is a camera-snowball. (My favorite parrot of all is the flightless kakapo, also from New Zealand).

Keas (Nestor notabilis) are the world’s only alpine parrots. They’re wickedly smart and curious, and also destructive, prone to strip chrome and rubber from cars. I once spent a whole day sitting in front of the cafe in Arthur’s Pass, New Zealand, trying to see one, only to finally succeed on the bus trip back to my hostel (the story is here).

All Kiwis love keas, and Heather Hastie sent me the video. Watch these birds enjoy themselves, and be sure to watch all the way to the end.


  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 2:47 pm | Permalink


  2. phoffman56
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Enquiring minds need to know: Did they get the little cam back out of the ‘snowball’ after the parrots rolled it down the mountain?–or is it just sitting there communicating with the internet?

  3. Jenny Haniver
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Amazing and dee-lightful (as TR would say) video.

  4. Charles Sawicki
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Love these birds!

  5. Barbara Radcliffe
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    I too love keas! I have fond memories of sitting at the top of Routeburn Falls, having taken off my boots after a long day’s walk and hence wearing sneakers. A kea hopped up to me and started playing with my shoe laces with my feet in situ!

  6. Tom Besson
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    Something sad is definitely happening to New Zealand’s kea population,as many more of them existed when I first started visiting the country in the mid-Eighties. They were much more common in the southern Alps at the time. New Zealanders generally do a good job of increasing the size of endangered bird populations, so let’s hope the same thing happens to keas.

    • Hrafn
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

      I’ve heard that, due to their curiosity, lead poisoning is a frequent problem with keas.

  7. rickflick
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    “Mate for life”, sounds quite intelligent. They can scratch each other’s itch.

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